The show went on, but not without some recognition for a display of Saskatchewan small-town hospitality.
Shania Twain performed on Thursday night at SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon, despite some of her crew being in a crash the previous day.
On Wednesday morning, a bus and a truck carrying crew and equipment for her “Queen of Me” tour crashed on the Trans-Canada Highway near Wolseley, Sask.
Twain, who was not on the bus herself, took to the stage before Thursday’s concert.
“I would love to extend a huge thank you to Indian Head High School, [the] Indian Head Union Hospital and the local police officers on the scene,” Twain told the crowd in Saskatoon.
Shawn Morris was one of the many residents of Indian Head, a town located about 70 kilometres east of Regina, that leapt into action after the crash.
Morris, the principal of Indian Head High School, said he found out about the crash Wednesday after a member of the town staff reached out to him to ask whether the school would be able to host about 20 or 30 people who were stranded after a bus crash.
Morris immediately commandeered the school’s library, kindly asking some students to return to class.
The school would eventually host nearly 40 crew members. The guests came in three waves: directly after the crash, after some crew members were cleared by health officials at the local hospital and after a separate bus on the tour turned around after reaching Regina.
Morris said he didn’t find out the school’s new guests were crew members of the famous Canadian country singer until after they arrived.
“There was a group in need and so we handled that,” he said.
Indian Head Coun. Chris Simpson said the response just shows how the community operates.
“The residents here in Indian Head have shown that they come together: they get supplies, they’ll cook, they’ll do whatever they need. Businesses help out if needed, if that’s the case. It’s just the way it is,” said Simpson.
Morris said he received a phone call after everyone had departed on Thursday. He didn’t even check his voicemail before he called the number back.
“[I] was promptly greeted by, ‘Hello this is Shania Twain,'” he said.
“We had a conversation. She profusely thanked our staff, which was amazing, and then we talked about the incident and I wished her a good show for the night.”
Morris said he thought Twain’s decision to call him on the day of her concert was a “big gesture.”
On Thursday, Twain told the crowd that she’d spoken with Morris “just to thank him.”
“He expressed that they would have done anything to help us, and they did. I’m just so humbled by all of that kindness and generosity.”
She also spoke about the care and hospitality her crew received in the town of Indian Head. Twain said people at the Indian Head High School cooked pancakes for the crew.
Morris said the decision to provide pancakes, toiletries and basic necessities wasn’t just being kind — it was about compassion for fellow humans on what could’ve been a very bad day.
“You’re returning from a tragic incident. We had no idea of injuries or casualties or what happened at the scene. We only knew that we were going to have some people coming here,” Morris said.
“They were walking in with their possessions in hand. So we tried to return some hospitality that we could extend and, whether it’s pancakes and a juice box or even a comfy seat and a Wi-Fi password, that’s what we gave them.”
On Thursday, Twain told the crowd in Saskatoon that two of her crew members who were injured in the crash were still in hospital, but “on the mend,” and the rest were in the building during the concert that night.
Twain called the concert bittersweet, but dedicated her performance to the crew members.
“I’m gonna ask you, Saskatoon, to help me show love and support tonight,” she said.
“We have to give everything. We’ve got to lift up the spirits of my crew, please.”